Faculty Spotlight Interview: William L. Anderson
Bill Anderson is associate professor of economics at Frostburg State University. He received his doctorate in economics from Auburn University in 1999, his master’s in economics from Clemson University in 1984, and his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee in 1975. He is graduated from Baylor School of Chattanooga.
While at UT, Bill earned All-American and All-SEC honors in track. He was the 1982 Olive W. Garvey International Economics Essay Contest winner and presented his paper to the Mont Pelerin Society in what was then West Berlin that same year. He has published almost 30 papers in academic journals and has published hundreds of articles in publications such as Reason, Regulation, The Freeman, Forbes Online, and the Free Market. He currently writes a weekly column for The Freeman Online. He has two blogs on Blogspot, including William L. Anderson and Krugman-in-Wonderland.
He recently appeared on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show, “Freedom Watch,” on the Fox Business Channel.
He has four children, three of them adopted from overseas, and two grandchildren. He and his wife, Johanna, are looking to adopt another child this year, a girl from Latvia. He and his family live in Garrett County, Maryland, which receives an average about 100 inches of snow a year.
What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
I have a lot of interests. I play the violin and guitar and sing in the Cumberland Choral Society. I read a lot of material, and not just on economics. I also love hiking, mountain biking, road biking, and cross-country skiing. (We get over 100 inches of snow a year where I live.)
What drew you to the Austrian school and to the Ludwig von Mises Institute?
William H. Peterson, who wrote his dissertation under Mises at NYU, was the first person to introduce me to the Austrian School in 1980. I already had an interest in economics, but the Austrian School really opened my eyes. It combined solid analysis with intuition.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
It depends on the area. I’m a Christian, and there are lots of Christian “heroes” in my life and from whom I learn. In the area of economics and social thinking, I really like Mises and Murray Rothbard. In politics, I like Ron Paul because he not only has good intuition, but also has integrity.
Can you give a brief explanation about how mainstream economics are incorrectly viewing outsourcing?
Too many mainstream people are beholden to the old “cost of production” theory of value, so in their view, the higher the cost of production, the greater the amount of wealth is being created. Once one equates high labor costs to wealth, then the analytical game is over because that person is incapable of doing intelligent economic thinking. Outsourcing is nothing more than a furtherance of Division of Labor. Unfortunately, a lot of outsourcing overseas occurs because government policies at home drive out productive people.
What kind of impact do you hope to make with your work?
I have no illusions about what I am doing. Most people are not interested in listening to the Austrians, and especially mainstream economists that hold prestigious professorships. (I do not accept the “Market Test of Economics” view that the present utterings of mainstream professors must be true because the “market” would have discarded the bad stuff and kept the good stuff. If that were true, then Keynesian “economics” would be on the ashheap of history.) Nonetheless, even though I and many other Austrians seem always to be going uphill, I do have hopes of influencing people and I always appreciate hearing from people who have been impacted by what I have written or said regarding Austrian Economics. I do believe Austrian Economics is the best thing going, and I don’t mind being marginalized on that account.
Are there any words of wisdom you wish to pass onto the next generation of Austrian scholars?
Don’t quit what you are doing. Austrian Economics has answers that the mainstream simply cannot produce, and in my view, it is worth it to be an Austrian, even if that means some places won’t hire me.